briansommers

looking for flight planner that does it all

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I want a flight planner that does IFR but everything automatically

especially being able to choose the DP and STAR

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Simbrief is fantastic. In fact every few months I send them a donation. 

Edited by Bobsk8
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I prefer PFPX.

I have used Simbrief and like it a lot. However, it is not as tweakable as PFPX. In PFPX, there are custom performance files for the majority of add on a/c (primarily airliners, but a few GA types as well). Plus you can manually set virtually every item in the a/c parameters, route, etc. 

PFPX is payware, Simbrief is freeware. Can't go wrong with either. 

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I'll vote for Simbrief as well. That being said, Littlenavmap is also quite good. 

I use both of them in conjunction with Flightaware for every flight.

Edited by MDFlier
redundant redundancy

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I use Little Navmap and am very ok with it.

 

What would be the advantage of Simbrief over Little Navmap? Any substantial features that would justify to switch?

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1 hour ago, kaha said:

I use Little Navmap and am very ok with it.

 

What would be the advantage of Simbrief over Little Navmap? Any substantial features that would justify to switch?

I couldn’t say, Never heard of little navmap. Maybe someone else can chime in.

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5 hours ago, beechcaptain said:

I prefer PFPX

with Topcat ...... though the aircraft supported (by Topcat) is limited.

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The flightplanner in Pilot2ATC does a really good job at automatically assigning sids and stars and even has integrated weather engine support.

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I used PFPX for a while but found it just too complex for me. Now on LittleNavmap, which I like a lot and it's free.

 

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I use Simbrief to generate a flight plan and Little Nav Map to choose the SID and STAR and follow on the moving map. LNM is also great for airport taxi diagram and finding gates.

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I use ForeFlight on an iPad.

I select a route, say, KSAN > KSEA. Foreflight will produce a list of available routes (including those used today) and I manually input those into the GPS (I currently have an unhealthy attachment to the Falcon 50) and I'm off. Takes less than five minutes. I also have Jeppesen charts and airport diagrams that display the aircraft both in flight and on the ground. 

I also use LittleNav map for gate numbers.

Cheers,

Mark

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Little NavMap for me.  https://albar965.github.io/littlenavmap.html

Does just about everything I need constantly updated and superb support all for free!

Imports and exports just about every file format needed.

I currently run it with Active Sky on a networked client PC but have run it on my main Flight Sim PC as well.

Love the aircraft tracking over any variety of maps and the zoom in makes taxing in complicated airports quite easy.

Also it shows and handles all SIDS and STARS aligned with the P3D database which I updated with fsAerodata  https://www.fsaerodata.com/

Joe

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On 3/16/2019 at 3:29 PM, beechcaptain said:

I prefer PFPX.

I have used Simbrief and like it a lot. However, it is not as tweakable as PFPX. In PFPX, there are custom performance files for the majority of add on a/c (primarily airliners, but a few GA types as well). Plus you can manually set virtually every item in the a/c parameters, route, etc. 

PFPX is payware, Simbrief is freeware. Can't go wrong with either. 

speaking from a man that runs flightplans for a living 12 hours a day, 4 days a week and has done so for 11 years this March.

Both simbrief and pfpx are excellent at generating a flightplan and having very accurate fuel burns and fuel biases.

I can run a flightplan at work on LIDO or Sabre and then put the route string it generates into both pfpx or simbrief with the same reserve / contingencys fuel, etps, enroute alternates , and destination alternates, and it will be pretty much identical in fuel and flight time, which it should be because its using exactly the same released wind data as what LIDO and SABER use.

The UK MET OFFICE, and NWS  for example release weather at different periods in the day, at 0001z,0600z.1200z,1800z then that weather has to be downloaded and imported into your system regards of what software you use this can take upto 3 hours, so the 1800 weather will plop into lido at around 2030z-2100.  A good keen ops assistant knows to put that kettle on around 2045 because thats when the poo hits the fan. I often used to joke and ask the new ops assistant on his/her first shift how good they are at making tea at 20.45,02.45 and 08.45 because thats going to be the most important part of there job as thats the only time youll be moving off your seat in ops.  

Hence this is why sometimes pilots have to wait for the new wind data to to be downloaded in to lido, saber, jepps, flight keys, pps, or whatever your company uses before we can run the flight plans, or the weather will be over 6 hours old. 

Trust me on a nightshift in any most European OCC's you sit there like a muppet hitting refresh your software waiting for the latest weather to drop in, and then its a mad dash (helped by the ops assistants tea /coffee run ) to your plans done for the flights on the easterly tracks from the USA to Europe.  The same then happens then in the morning when the latest weather kicks in,  its a mad dash to get your early morning flightplans out with upoto date weather on.

Sure you can reply on predicted winds, but its not best practice.

So back to the topic, in my opinion where pfpx and simbrief have issues (which is no different like the commerical flightplanning systems) is generating routes, on certain scenarios.  on very short routes wheres theres not many airways for it to choose from or routes with RADs and CDRS on them.  In my time ive seen both LIDO,Saber,fwz;Zepps,Phoenix make some absolute howlers of routes.  At an old work place we used to put them on the wall for example a BHX-BRS that lido took 20 minutes to compute and then it sent via Deans Cross in Scotland.  All of the commercial systems will do this sort of stuff and short routes.

You also have to remember that most airlines will using company routes around the world, and in most areas this is permit specfic, so for example anything in the middle east, asia and russia the route will be dependent on way entry point waypoint into an FIR region and the exit point ouf the region. 

So you apply for permits on this certain airways through the country you fly through.  So lets take London to Hong Kong for example you might enter Russia at waypoint ALFHA, and exit Russia at waypoint BRAVO, thats the Russians want so you apply for it. Then you apply to Mongolia to Enter at point BRAVO from Russia and exit Mongolia at Point CHARLIE to enter into China. So off you go and apply to Russia, China and Mongolia for those permits using those waypoints.

All goes well for weeks and months on end until Mongolia tells you due to notam 1234 you cant exit via Charlie. Then you have an issue with both the Mongolia exit and China entry point.

This sort if stuff happens the world over and involves emails, telephone calls, AFTN messages, its a dispatchers nightmate to get it sorted, but thats the job, its a world away from Chewie and Belynz running a PFPX plan on twitch and all the viewers lapping it up. 

Finally in europe we have a route catalog that gives you a prefered routing to various airlines, this catalog changes with the rads and cdrs in europe.  Its look like this, ive given the BHX-BRS route as an example, as well as a standard LGW-AGP

Capture.png

Capture.png

The USA and Canada have a similar one called the NRP but with the airspace in the USA and Canada being alot easier and unrestricted than the 44 ECAC members in Europe that all have their own restrictions.

So im trying to say here in closing is ALL flightplanning systems whether that is commerical products like LIDO , SABRE, Jetplanner, etc etc  or Simbrief or PFPX is it only as good as the person operating using it and then data you then give it to run.  So for example on lido it will read all those routes above and compare them all with weather, notams, fuel,permits costs, etc etc etc etc.

Worth noting aswell for lido to run you a simple LGW-AGP  as above without a stored route will take around 10-15 mins and with one 5 to 10 mins as it checks a million different ways of doing it.

A long haul plan on both lido and Sabre for example a LHR - LAX using etops on the 787 from start to finish after hitting compute with your inputs takes about 20 mins to run and create weather and notams for. Theres nothing more annoying than a skipper saying "can you run me a quick flightplan from LHR to SFO." 

Once again dispatching is far far far away from what you see twitch streamers fannying around on twitch doing.

My advice and its what I do (as I can only use LIDO and Sabre in work) is to get the route string from either https://flightaware.com or the fantastic   https://edi-gla.co.uk/login.php?go=/fpl_requests.php   and use the route strings from them, add the sid/stars into it and put it through simbrief using correct alternates.

Hope that helps.

 

Edited by tooting
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What a great post! Thank you for all the insight and great tips.

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And those flightaware flight plans will most likely be approved by VATSIM ATC without any changes.

Another site is fltpln.com with similar routing as flightaware.com.

 

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Thing with Lido and sabre is for a short Haul airline  with stored company routes and a static timetable its a dream. There is nothing better. You just have to deal with CTOTS (bad slots), reroutes and rejected flightplans from eurocontrol. 

You can leave it running in the background and it will run numerous flightplans at once, the file them, then package up the weather and notams and upload it all  nicely for the pilots to retrieve via a website in the crewroom. 

The downside to Lido is for example if you have the lhr to dxb and the a/c diverts to say OMAA /AUH

If you don't have a stored route for OMAA to OMDB and you run a plan on Lido it will get confused as hell and take 15 mins to send you round the houses.  I imagine this is the same with pfpx and Simbrief. 

If you ask it to run a lhr lax,but avoiding this and that and a ton of mels it takes 20 mins. 

Also give it a wierd short city pair with no company route it will struggle.  This is what happens when you get an unexpected divert and it normally happens just as you go on your lunch 

 

 

Edited by tooting

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On 3/16/2019 at 4:29 PM, beechcaptain said:

Simbrief is freeware.

Under one condition: If you want to use an up to date navigation database, you have to pay a Navigraph account. 

Edited by BlueSky31

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1 hour ago, BlueSky31 said:

Under one condition: If you want to use an up to date navigation database, you have to pay a Navigraph account. 

Same as pfpx?? 

 

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